Lonely Planet Writer

New York City is getting the nation’s first Center for Women’s History

New York City will soon be home to the nation’s first institution opened to the public and dedicated to highlighting the role of women in American history. On 8 March, 2017, coinciding with International Women’s Day, the New-York Historical Society will open the Center for Women’s History.

Lincoln on the steps of the New York Historical Society.
Lincoln on the steps of the New York Historical Society. Image by Jane Hammons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Set to be housed on the museum’s newly renovated fourth floor, the centre will include various artefacts from the permanent collection displaying moments from women’s history, rotating exhibitions, an education space, and an interactive installation. The multimedia digital installation, entitled Women’s Voices, will feature eight large touchscreens showing history’s influential women, including both well-known and unnamed contributors. “Our brand new spaces dedicated to studying and telling the story of women’s history will, for the first time ever within the walls of a museum, ensure women’s rightful and permanent place within the broad American historical narrative,” president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society Dr. Louise Mirrer said in a statement.

The first exhibition will be Saving Washington, which explores women’s contributions to early American democracy, including those of Dolley Madison. The wife of the fourth U.S. President, who famously saved the White House portrait of George Washington from British vandalism during the War of 1812, also had a significant role in America’s early years.

Billie Jean King  in action at Wimbledon in the 1980s.
Billie Jean King in action at Wimbledon in the 1980s. Image by Getty Images

The exhibition, on display until 28 July, 2017, will showcase over 150 objects such as artworks, books, documents, clothing, jewellery, and housewares. Other displays will include a recently acquired collection of items from tennis icon Billie Jean King, with tennis dresses, rackets, souvenir ephemera and documents that show her historic fight for women’s rights and equal pay.

Also on the fourth floor, the new Tiffany Gallery will continue the theme of illustrating the contributions of women in history. Showcasing 100 illuminated Tiffany lamps from the museum’s collection, the installation will highlight Clara Driscoll and her Women’s Glasscutting Department, the recently discovered designers and creators of many Tiffany lampshades known as the “Tiffany Girls”, who worked in the shadow of famed artist Louis C. Tiffany.